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Do you buy cookbooks? Often or rarely?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Vash01, Sep 28, 2011.

Do you buy cookbooks?

Poll closed Oct 28, 2011.
  1. yes, one or more in a year

    40 vote(s)
  2. Yes, but only once every 2 to 3 years

    19 vote(s)
  3. Rarely; I get them as gifts

    18 vote(s)
  4. Almost never

    22 vote(s)
  1. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    I am considering writing a cookbook and would like to do some market survey. This may be a good place to start. Later I can post possible titles I have in mind.

    The first question is- do you buy cook books?
  2. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member


    People buy them for me. I use them rarely. And I cook all the time. From scratch.
  3. RockTheTassel

    RockTheTassel Well-Known Member

    I don't because I know a lot of people who love cooking and recommend recipes to me. Buying a cookbook just isn't worth it when I'll only use a couple of the recipes, likely ones I can get from someone I know or online.
  4. pilgrimsoul

    pilgrimsoul Active Member

    My husband is a compulsive cookbook collector, so we have enough for our own private library. They literally number in the hundreds. The sad thing is, we're both so busy, we only really use about 20 of them regularly. The others just sit on the shelf and look pretty.

    I'm with RockTheTassel - with the exception of a select few cookbooks I can't do without, I'd much rather get my recipes online.
  5. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Hit ball, find ball, hit it again.

    I buy them once in a while. Just bought an "Indian Food for Idiots" type book so I'd become more familiar with the spices and techniques. For my go to book, I prefer my iPhone app - How to Cook Everything - as it has integrated shopping lists and is always with me.
  6. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    My husband is chef so he buys a number of them just to read them for ideas, then he makes up his own recipes. Out of the gazillion he has, he likes Thomas Keller's French Laundry cookbook and the CIA Professional Chef for basics. For me, I might buy one every 2-3 years.
  7. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    I've bought all of Mark Bittman's cookbooks, which are huge and comprehensive, and which have recipes that are understandable, easy to make, and fairly adaptable (e.g. in terms of substituting ingredients, changing the amount you want to make). And the results are very tasty. But those are probably the only cookbooks I've bought in the past 10 years.
  8. CynicElle

    CynicElle Well-Known Member

    Yes, I do buy cookbooks. I really don't know why, as I have limited shelf space and can dig up loads of perfectly good recipes on the internet, but sometimes the author's personality or overall approach to a cuisine draws me in anyhow.
  9. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Yes, many. Before there was Food TV, cookbooks were my gastroporn.

    ETA: Ella Fitzgerald had a huge collection, which she read for the porn value.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  10. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    *runs into thread that is calling her name*

    I chose the most frequent option - one or more in a year - but the more accurate count for me would be "one or more in a week."

    I love cookbooks, and my overflowing library is well into the hundreds. Many new, many older, many vintage that I buy in used bookstores (when we travel, a used bookstore is always an important stop). I also have a small box of recipes I've clipped out of magazines, copied from a friend or printed off online.

    I find them inspiring when I'm looking for new ideas or planning a party, and that's why I prefer books to the internet. I like the pictures, but more so the discussion by the authors/editors/chefs on where the dish comes from, tips on technique, variations and suggested servings.

    I almost never buy a book for the pictures only, and if the recipes are just stand alone, I don't bother because I can do better elsewhere.

    Cookbooks also offer insights into other cultures, even other regions of the US in particular, because they speak to how people live, how they take care of their families and how they entertain. Vintage cookbooks also give us history and context for how things used to be done, and how that has affected who we are today. One of my most prized and beloved books is the new New York Times cookbook in which the excellent editor/writer Amanda Hesser surveyed the magazine since the 1800s and chose the best and most iconic recipes, complete with her commentary on why there were important, how they can be made today, etc - she tested every one of them.

    We have most of the classics (Julia Child, Claudia Roden), many favourite authors (Jamie Oliver, Martha Hall Foose), restaurants we've been too (just got Bobby Flay's Bar Americain this week!) and some that no longer exist (took me years to hunt down a cookbook from the Brown Derby).

    Wheee sounds like a great guy :)

    Yes, we do that too. We'll consult several versions of a recipe, then do it our own way.
  11. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    I didn't know that! :cool:
  12. jl

    jl Well-Known Member

    I buy some for myself to get some ideas. I am a fan of the Vancouver Cooks series, because most are accessible. I have the West cookbook but those recipes are kind of... involved.

    Cultural exchange in the cookbooks is so awesome though. Reading particularly about Italian and Southeast Asian culture through cuisine is something that I love to do (though the fact that I :swoon: over the food from those regions may have something to do with it ;) ).

    In particular, I like Khmer Cookbook - From Spiders to Water Lillies, and Hot Sour Salty Sweet as great books with some awesome recipes and vivid descriptions of the culinary culture of some of SE Asia. Oh geesh, the thought of stirfried squid with green peppercorns and oop (Cambodian pork and eggplant stew, with chilis) is just making me salivate now...
  13. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

    I voted for almost never. I used to buy a lot of them, but now I get recipes off the internet.
  14. soxxy

    soxxy Guest

    So do I, plus there's a million videos that show technique.
  15. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

    Cookbooks are an interesting market. I don't really cook much, but I lurrrrve cookbooks. My mom buys me one every year. I find some of the most beautiful, well-written, descriptive, and evocative of a particular place/time to be cookbooks. Want to know all the important stuff about south Louisiana--skip the Frommer's and the Frodor's and go directly to John Besh's My New Orleans. If you want to know about Russian, Ukrainian and Georgian traditions, food and otherwise, check out Please to the Table. by Anya von Bremzen. I'd recommend that over any travel guide.

    If you can tie a picture/story/tradition to your recipes, I think your cookbook could sell well. And splurge for color--I never buy a cookbook that doesn't have color pictures of most of the food.
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  16. Nan

    Nan Just me, retired

    I buy one a year because there is always a request on at least one of my daughters Christmas lists. They all like to venture out in the kitchen and like to try new foods and recipes.

    (I really murdered the plural and possessive in that first sentence, didn't I?)
  17. timing

    timing fragrance free

    We both buy cookbooks and get recipes from the internet. With a vegetarian daughter on a gluten-free diet, I need all the ideas I can get.
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  18. Finnice

    Finnice Well-Known Member

    I love cookbooks and buy about 7 per year. I read them a lot and then use them to base my own recipes. I cook nearly every day.
  19. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

    All the time - my collection just keeps growing. I read them just for the knowledge in them, the explanations of the why of things that I don't seem to get elsewhere. (For example, I could never understand why recipes for orange cake always call for lemon juice. Then I found the answer in a cookbook; orange is a volatile flavor that dissipates easily, but the addition of lemon juice helps counteract that.)
  20. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

  21. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

    I love cookbooks :swoon:

    But I'm choosy...I unloaded a lot of gift cookbooks at a yard sale this year, because I never even opened them. I have Julia Child and the 75th anniversary Joy of Cooking, but overall I like cookbooks that focus on either a particular cuisine or a particular style of cooking, and celebrity chefs are a turnoff for me.

    I do get a lot of recipies from the internet when I'm trying something new or on impulse, but I also like to consult my cookbooks, and if I like the experiment I've tried, I will look for a cookbook that will give me more.

    I also looooove buying old cookbooks. My former boss gave me a Hershey's chocolate baking cookbook from I think the 1940s and it's a fascinating glimpse into the baking styles of the day. I also have a cheesecake book (I love baking, so I have a lot of baking books) from the '70s that is full of great humor and design.
    Jenny and (deleted member) like this.
  22. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Past Prancer's Corridor

    I, too, love cookbooks, even though in the past 10 years I don't think I've cooked more than a handful of meals. :shuffle: But I do like to read cookbooks -- the ones that have more than just recipes in them are fascinating. I have a lot of older ones, including some from the early 1900's and many pamphlets put out by various companies (food and appliance) in the 1930's and 1940's. Some others are a trip down memory lane, as I remember looking through the ones my grandmother and mother used when I was in grade school.

    I have both Julia and Joy ... unfortunately my Joy of Cooking was very well used for a certain few recipes -- the spine broke and it now automatically opens to "Brownies Cockaigne". :eek: I regularly used the excuse that I didn't have the right size baking pan and would double the recipe and then eat about 1/3 of the batter. :slinkaway
  23. Sassafras

    Sassafras Well-Known Member

    I hardly cook anymore. When I need a recipe, I do an online search.
  24. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    I love cookbooks too ... but very rarely buy them any more. I have one shelf dedicated to cookbooks, and if I want any more I'd have to get rid of some others ... and I've already "perfected" my collection.

    Part of it is being vegetarian. I see no point in acquiring a book that contains a lot of recipes I'll never use.

    But mostly I'm just trying to limit my book acquisions, period. Just as I use the library for the novels I read, if a new & interesting cookbook comes out I'll get it from the library and then photocopy the handful of recipes that I might actually use.

    Plus of course there's an almost limitless availability of recipes online.
  25. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    LOL! I use my Joy of Cooking more as a reference (how too for seldom used techniques) than as an actual recipe book ... but that Brownies Cockaigne is my favourite brownie recipe too. Sometimes simple is best.
  26. AliasJohnDoe

    AliasJohnDoe Headcase Addict

    My grandmother passed down some of her cookbooks from the 40's, 50's and 60's.

    Some really good old-fashioned Dutch, Welsh, German and Polish recipes. I like the old cook books.
  27. Parsley Sage

    Parsley Sage Well-Known Member

    I buy maybe one or two a year. I have over 30 of them in my collection. There are a few that I use regularly and many that I consult when I'm cooking something.

    Most of my recipes are from friends or the internet though.
  28. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member


    My Moosewood cookbook is not hardbound, and the spine cracked years ago - there are whole sections of it not even attached any more, I just close them into the book as if they are. It opens automatically to the spinach-rice casserole. I could buy a new one, but I have written in a bunch of modifications and taped in a few other recipes too. In fact, one year I bought a copy of the book for a friend who raved about some of the dishes I made from it and I wrote in all my modifications for her (in nicer handwriting than in my copy!).
  29. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Past Prancer's Corridor

    Yes, my Joy of Cooking isn't hardbound, either. And when it opens to the Brownies Cockaigne, that page is completely separated from the rest (and bears the marks of chocolate and butter). :lol: There was a recipe in one of my old cookbooks (it may have been the original NYTimes Natural Foods Cookbook) for a spinach and brown rice casserole (with cheese and eggs) that I loved. I haven't made it in years -- I may have to go look it up tonight.
  30. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

    I used to have a friend who collected cook books, so I got a number for her as gifts. I've bought some for myself over the years, but then I realized I never cook. I'll still get some "local cookbooks" for people as gifts when I travel.